One of The Problems with indie makeup is how companies tend to come and go, sometimes before you get to try them. I've pretty much stopped trying new companies - I like to wait until they've established themselves a bit, to see if they're trustworthy, and then make an order. Howl was hit with a double-whammy, though: they marketed their lipsticks as semi-matte and this was back when I shunned anything with matte in its name AND ended up closing just as I was gearing up to buy them. However, Howl's lipstick formula was sold to HelloWaffle, and now HelloWaffle stocks a mix of the original Howl colours and new colours. And that is how I came to know Howl's lipsticks. I've only purchased them from HelloWaffle, so can't speak to the originals, nor can compare, but I think the Howl/HW iteration of these is pretty good, and I like it overall. The formula is a true semi-matte, of medium weight (like I know I'm wearing lipstick, but I don't feel like it's too thick or heavy), and seems to hold up well to longer wear, food, and drink.
Left: Fey; bottom: Snowberry; right: Gingerbread
I first picked up Gingerbread during HelloWaffle's anniversary sale in January, and then grabbed Fey and Snowberry during the Easter sale in April. Gingerbread and Snowberry are Howl colours, and part of the general catalogue, while Fey was an LE lipstick colour for Easter weekend. I've been really good about avoiding LE indie hype, but Fey looked magnificent and I was sitting on a bus to my hometown with nothing to do, so there you go. This was my pre-car owning life. Now I just drive places, rather than online shop on public transportation. But public transportation is good. If you have it. I don't, really, and we should all be amazed that I eked out a year and a half in this place without a vehicle.
L-R: Gingerbread, Fey, Snowberry
Gingerbread, my first Howl lipstick, is described as "A medium warm rose brown lipstick." This is a colour I've been buying a lot over the last year - and have pared down to a few, including Gingerbread - a pink brown. It pulls a little more pink than expected. It's also a little dewier than my other two lipsticks, with a little more glide.
It's very wearable and definitely fits in with the 2010s brown lipstick revival.
Swatched next to Bite Multistick in Brioche (second from left - first is Gingerbread), Colourpop Blotted Lip in Drip (more on this later!), and Lancome Shine Lover in Beige Floral.
My only quibble with this one is that the bullet is slightly rattly in the casing. It hasn't broken, and it didn't happen with my other tubes, so this is probably a one-off packaging annoyance.
Fey, the limited edition lipstick, is described as "Shimmering pale rose with gold shimmer." This is based off of a popular eyeshadow from HelloWaffle. The listing does warn that this is drier than the other lipsticks, and I'm inclined to agree. It's probably because of the gold shimmer.
It's definitely a lipstick for pale princesses, as my friends agreed when I shared a swatch photo with them. It walks the line of being frosty, but doesn't get there on me. This works as a bizarre nude on me. I like it. The base colour does wear off before the shimmer does, which does leave me in danger of looking like a disco ball, but with my regular post-lunch touchup, it didn't look too bad. I'd advise wiping as much off as you can before reapplying if you're worried.
And unlike Gingerbread, I really don't have anything that looks like this. I tried to think of things to compare it to, but came up short.
Snowberry, my last Howl lipstick, is of course my favourite, since it's that cranberry red that I have a billion different versions of. It's described as "A cranberry red." Duh. There are some surface imperfections on the bullet, which was noted in the listing when I bought it.
This is the longest lasting of all three. I wore this all day and didn't touch it up till I decided to take an IG photo wearing it. Couldn't tell that I had touched it up, because I frankly didn't need to do so. It wears evenly, stains beautifully, and lasts forever for a bullet lipstick. It's perfect.
And comparison time: Bite Amuse Bouche in Beetroot, Snowberry, Colourpop Lippie Stix in Let's Play, Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Rock Steady, and NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey.
While Fey and Gingerbread are lovely, something about a cranberry red and a pixie cut is really speaking to me these days. But overall, these are decent lipsticks, made in Canada, and one of the coveted and hard to find indie products, lipsticks in bullet form. They're comfortable and wear well, not unlike the blanket I'm hiding under. Snow is in the forecast tonight. Such is the Canadian spring!